The automotive behemoth that is the VW Group Night before each major motor show tends to bring relatively few surprises these days. Brands understandably want a bit of fresh air for their new metal, so products are often 'leaked' weeks in advance, or at least issued in official fashion in the days building up to the event. It's rare for something to drive on stage and cause an actual clamour.
That happened this evening, though, when Bentley's presentation started with a conventional look at the next generation of Continental GT, and some news on the continued development of the W12 engine (more power, plus cylinder deactivation for improved efficiency).
However, as the lurid green Conti drove off the stage, Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer announced a further surprise. And the EXP 10 Speed 6 arrived.
The EXP 10 Speed 6 is a baby two-seater designed to show how Bentley could expand its range further, long after the forthcoming Bentayga SUV is finally on sale. The new concept - and it is just that, for now - has a stubby tail with an extremely short rear overhang and a development of Bentley's round headlights arrangement at the front.
It's not what you would call classically beautiful - but it definitely has presence. And the fact that we hadn't seen it in advance pretty much handed it the title of 'VW Group Night show-stopper' on a plate. It's already hard to see why Bentley wouldn't bring something like this to market, given the huge extra customer base that it would open up for the brand.
The other big draw of the evening? Probably Seat's 20V20 concept, a show car - indeed, a project - that was only started back in September. The Spanish manufacturer couldn't resist teasing it in advance (there we go again) but when you actually got up close and in the metal, the 20V20 looked an imposing creation - every bit a proper rival for the likes of Nissan's X-Trail.
It's big, though - big enough for a conventional five-seat SUV to sit underneath it, I'd say. But if this is really is a solid clue on the design language that will feature on that car when it comes (and it will), then bring it on. Seat has taken what seems like eons to finally get its head around SUVs; looks like it's got the right idea at last.
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